A pandemic won’t stop COTY.
The nomination process for the 2021 Coin of the Year awards looked a bit different this year, but the program is well under way despite travel and gathering restrictions due to COVID-19. One-hundred nominees – 10 coins in each of 10 award categories – emerged after the Nominating Committee met virtually Nov. 3, 2020, to consider 400 coin nominees curated by more than 45 issuing entities from around the world.
The 38th annual awards program, honoring coins dated 2019 and to be presented in early 2021, is presented by World Coin News and sponsored by The Journal of East Asian Numismatics.The competition begins each year when the committee convenes to select the nominees.
“Our COTY Nominating Committee traditionally has met in person to review and nominate coins from a large printed catalog of potential candidates,” explained Tom Michael, COTY coordinator. “The pandemic made that impossible in 2020, so our team created digital files, devised a two-step nomination process and moved our in-person meeting onto a virtual platform. The Nominating Committee was so pleased with the efficiency of this new approach that we are already planning to adopt many of its elements permanently.”
The change in process also had positive effects on the way coins were nominated, resulting in a broader scope of nominees.
“Completing the first phase of COTY nominating independently, rather than in a group setting, put the spotlight on some of the strengths inherent in our committee,” said Michael. “We all seem to agree on certain coins, but our backgrounds are so diverse that everyone finds a few great coins that the others did not notice.
“The result of this year’s restructured nominating procedure is a wonderful selection of 100 nominees in 10 categories, from more than 45 countries, which will certainly challenge our world-class Judging Panel as they cast their votes,” he said. “You’ll note that some subjects, the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing for instance, made appearances in multiple categories.”
Because the coin nominees are dated 2019, which marked 50 years since the monumental spaceflight that first landed humans on the moon, it was a common commemorative theme among the nominees. Coins marking the historic mission appear in four award categories, nominated by a total of four different countries.
Moon landing nominations in the Best Contemporary Event category came from Belgium, Spain and the United States. The Best Silver category contains a nomination from the United States. The U.S. garnered another nomination in the Best Crown category. And finally, the Most Inspirational category has a contender from Austria.
A complete list of the nominees in each award category follows.
MOST HISTORICALLY SIGNIFICANT COIN
Coins commemorating events, institutions or individuals deemed highly significant in terms of the historical heritage of a people, a country or mankind. The subject or theme must have passed into historical perspective at least 100 years ago.
Historical category nominations ran the full gambit this year, from pre-recorded history to the 100-year mark, and touched on a wide breadth of subjects.
- Australia, KM-3069, 5 Dollar, Silver, Mutiny and Rebellion: HMS Bounty
- Austria, KM-3307, 100 Euro, Gold, Magic of Gold: The Gold of Mesopotamia
- Belgium, KM-387, 2 Euro, Bi-Metallic, 450th Anniversary of the Death of Pieter Bruegel the Elder
- France, KM-2755, 10 Euro, Silver, Eras of Europe
- Great Britain, KM-1730a, 500 Pound, Silver, 200th Anniversary of the Birth Year of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert
- Ireland, KM-99, 2 Euro, Bi-Metallic, 100th Anniversary of the First Dáil Éireann
- Italy, KM-436, 10 Euro, Silver with Gold, Explorers Series: Christopher Columbus
- Poland, KM-1038, 10 Zloty, Silver, 200th Anniversary of Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts
- Portugal, KM-895, 2 Euro, Bi-Metallic, 500th Anniversary of Magellan’s Circumnavigation of Earth
- South Africa, KM-693, 100 Rand,Gold, Natura Series: Taung Child
BEST CONTEMPORARY EVENT COIN
Coins commemorating events, institutions or individuals of current or recent events influencing a people or mankind. The subjects or issues must have occurred within the past 99 years.
You never know what types of areas will be covered in the Contemporary category. This year there were coins nominated for scientific, political, economic, military, royal, religious and independence themes.
- Belgium, KM-395, 5 Euro, Silver, 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing
- Canada, KM-2760, 1 Dollar, Silver, 75th Anniversary of D-Day
- France, KM-2564, 10 Euro, Silver, Notre-Dame Cathedral
- Japan, KM-287, 10,000 Yen, Gold, 30th Anniversary of the Enthronement of New Emperor
- Latvia, KM-207, 5 Euro, Silver, War of Independence
- North Korea, KM-1322, 1 Won, Brass, Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un
- Russia, KM-1862, 3 Rouble, Silver, 5th Anniversary of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU)
- South Africa, KM-691, 50 Rand, Bronze Alloy, 25 Years of Democracy
- Spain, KM-1433, 10 Euro, Silver, 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing
- United States, KM-693, 1 Dollar, Silver, 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing
BEST GOLD COIN
Coins manufactured from gold, platinum, palladium or another exotic precious metal, which have all-around artistic appeal, both from aesthetic and a commercial standpoint.
Some highly respected series continue to produce coins that get nominated in the Gold category each year. This year the committee was pleased to be able to nominate a number of coins in the category representing a wide array of subjects and design approaches.
- Austria, KM-3306, 50 Euro, Gold, The Vienna Schools of Psychotherapy: Viktor Frankl
- Belgium, KM-393, 25 Euro, Gold, 90th Anniversary of the Birth of Audrey Hepburn
- Canada, KM-2900, 200 Dollar, Gold, Early Canadian History
- China, KM-2491, 100 Yuan, Gold, Art of Chinese Calligraphy
- France, KM-2739, 200 Euro, Gold, Woman of French History: Marie Curie
- Hungary, KM-979, 50,000 Forint, Gold, Saints of the Árpád-Dynasty: Saint Margaret
- Mongolia, KM-399, 1,000 Togrog, Gold, Wildlife Protection: Gobi Bear
- Portugal, KM-902b, 7.5 Euro, Gold, 500th Anniversary of Magellan’s Circumnavigation of Earth
- South Africa, KM-692, 50 Rand, Gold, Africa’s Big 5: Lion
- United States, KM-710, 100 Dollar, Gold, American Liberty High Relief Gold Coin Series
BEST SILVER COIN
Coins manufactured from silver, which have all-around appeal, both from an aesthetic and a commercial standpoint.
If you are strongly traditional collector, the Silver category is a great place to find quality coins for any modern collection.
- Australia, KM-3073, 5 Dollar, Silver, Versailles Centenary
- Austria, KM-3304, 20 Euro, Silver, Reaching for the Sky: The Dream of Flight
- China, KM-2465, 10 Yuan, Silver, World Heritage: Ping Yao
- Germany, KM-379, 20 Euro, Silver, 100th Anniversary of the Bauhaus
- Italy, KM-437, 10 Euro, Silver, Italy of Arts: Duomo of Milan
- Latvia, KM-204, 5 Euro, Silver, Latvian Poet Kārlis Skalbe
- Netherlands, KM-409, 5 Euro, Silver, 75th Anniversary of Operation Market Garden
- Portugal, KM-899a, 5 Euro, Silver, Endangered Flora: Tuberaria Major
- Ukraine, KM-973, 5 Hryvnia, Silver, The Cold Ravine
- United States, KM-693, 1 Dollar, Silver, 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11
Coins with all-around appeal, both from an aesthetic and a commercial standpoint. Consideration should be given also to the unique theme which the coin reflects, and how the coin fits historically into the “crown” definition, including a minimum size requirement of 37mm and a maximum size of 45mm.
While the Crown category holds some excellent traditional style coins this year, we were surprised by a few coins with special features. It is also interesting to note that the Mongolian Gobi Bear 500 Togrog represents the end of a long running series, whose first issue was a top COTY award winner in 2009.
- Australia, KM-3072, 5 Dollar, Silver, The Earth and Beyond: The Sun
- Canada, KM-2786, 5 Dollars, Silver, 200th Anniversary of the Birth of Her Majesty Queen Victoria
- Cook Islands, KM-1889, 5 Dollar, Silver, Titanium, Chang’e-4: Space Panda
- Cyprus, KM-107, 5 Euro, Silver, 30th Anniversary of the Founding of the University of Cyprus
- France, KM-2566, 10 Euro, Silver, Gilt, Rhodium, Paris’ Treasures, City of Lights: Eiffel Tower
- Hungary, KM-964, 2,000 Forint, Copper-Zinc, National Memorial Sites of Hungary
- Japan, KM-Y284, 1,000 Yen, Silver, Olympic Games, Tokyo 2020: Judo
- Lithuania, KM-253, 20 Euro, Silver, Lithuanian Castles and Manors
- Mongolia, KM-389, 500 Togrog, Silver, Wildlife Protection: Gobi Bear
- United States, KM-689, 1 Dollar, Silver, 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11
BEST CIRCULATING COIN
Coins that are made of non-precious metals, possess all-around appeal, both from aesthetic and commercial viewpoints, and best meet the basic considerations of actual circulating monetary units.
This year the COTY Nominating Committee recognized a good selection of what could be called “uplifting” coin themes and placed these coins in categories other that the traditional Inspirational section.
- Australia, KM-2963, 50 Cent, Cupronickel, International Year of Indigenous Languages
- Brazil, KM-2963, 1 Real, Bi-Metallic, 25th Anniversary of Real Introduction
- Canada, KM-2757, 1 Dollar, Brass-Plated Steel, 50 Years of Progress in Advancing LGBTQ2 Rights
- Germany, KM-380, 2 Euro, Bi-Metallic, 30th Anniversary of the Fall of Berlin Wall
- Greece, KM-315, 2 Euro, Cupronickel, Nickel-Brass, Greek Poet Andreas Kalvos
- Hungary, KM-980, 50 Forint, Base Metal, 2019 FIE World Fencing Championship in Budapest
- Japan, KM-Y269, 100 Yen, Cupronickel, Copper, Olympic Games: Tokyo 2020
- Panama, KM-169, 1 Balboa, Bi-Metallic, Jornada Mundial de la Juventud: World Youth Day
- Peru, KM-418, 1 Sol, Nickel-Brass, Endangered Wildlife of Peru: Andean Mountain Cat
- United States, KM-695, Quarter-Dollar, Cupronickel, America the Beautiful: American Memorial Park
BEST BI-METALLIC COIN
Coins which reflect the concept of a ring coinage, where outer ring and inner center are made of different, contrasting metals. This includes struck-through inserts, but excludes appliqués. Coins should have all-around artistic appeal, both from aesthetic and a commercial standpoint.
Each year at the COTY Nominating Committee meeting, one or two unusual bi-metallic coins are presented. This is often the category where you might find an anticipated dark horse candidate.
- Austria, KM-3305, 25 Euro, Silver Niobium, Artificial Intelligence
- Canada, KM-2750, 25 Cent, Brass, Cupronickel, Bronze, 35th Anniversary of the First Canadian in Space
- Egypt, KM-1034, 1 Pound, Bi-Metallic, New Capital City of Alamein
- Estonia, KM-90, 2 Euro, Bi-Metallic, 150th Anniversary of the Song Celebration
- Finland, KM-293, 2 Euro, Nickel-Brass Center, Copper-Nickel Ring, Finnish Constitution Act of 1919
- France, KM-2560, 2 Euro, Bi-Metallic, 60th Anniversary of Asterix
- Great Britain, KM-1693, 2 Pound, Cupronickel Center, Nickel-Brass Ring, Captain Cook
- Kazakhstan, KM-421, 500 Tenge, Silver with Tantalum Insert, Tobyl Oishyly (Tobol Thinker)
- Poland, KM-1028, 5 Zloty, Bi-Metallic, Discover Poland: Frombork Cathedral
- Vatican, KM-517, 2 Euro, Bi-Metallic, 25th Anniversary of the Restoration of the Sistine Chapel
MOST ARTISTIC COIN
Coins are selected solely on the value of their outstanding artistic merit. No consideration should be given to their commercial potential, theme or popularity.
Requiring a subjective and personal perspective, the Artistic category of COTY often provides unexpected outcomes. This year there were more than enough strong coins in this category to satisfy any taste.
- Canada, KM-2838, 20 Dollar, Silver, Eagle Feather
- China, KM-2487, 80 Yuan, Gold, Auspicious Culture
- Cook Islands, KM-1887, 5 Dollar, Silver, Trapped
- France, KM-2567, 10 Euro, Silver, Fall of the Berlin Wall
- Italy, KM-437, 10 Euro, Silver, Italy of Arts: Duomo of Milan
- Latvia, KM-205, 5 Euro, Silver, Painter Niklavs Strunke
- Palau, KM-603, 10 Dollar, Silver, Flowers: Poppy
- San Marino, KM-585, 5 Euro, Silver, International Forestry Day
- Switzerland, KM-175, 20 Franc, Silver with Color, 100th Anniversary of Circus Knie
- Tanzania, KM-114, 1,000 Shilling, Silver with Pano Technology Plating, Nano Panda
MOST INNOVATIVE COIN
Coins best fitting the term “innovative concept in coinage.” Pioneering metallic alloy issues, non-typical coinage materials, planchet shapes, distinct visual themes or other innovations. Special consideration should be given to technological advancements that forward minting ideas and mechanics.
As always, the Innovative category seems to be overloaded with excellent competitors. Nominating Committee members each had their favorites and opinions were varied, so expect this category to provide COTY with an exciting outcome.
- Australia, KM-3071, 5 Dollar, Silver, Black Nickel Plating, Gilt, Echoes of Australian Fauna: Lesser Bilby
- Canada, KM-2852, 25 Dollar, Silver, High Relief Wolf
- Cook Islands, KM-1897, 20 Dollar, Silver, Meteorites: Dinosaur Extinction
- France, KM-2563, 10 Euro, Silver, Mona Lisa
- Germany, KM-382, 10 Euro, Copper Nickel, Polymer, Air and Motion
- Lithuania, KM-250, 10 Euro, Silver, Gender Equality
- Mongolia, KM-386, 500 Togrog, Silver, Numismatic Sculptures: Edelweiss
- Niue, KM-2278, 5 Dollar, Silver with Swarovski Crystals, Creation of the World
- Palau, KM-604, 20 Dollar, Silver, Micropuzzle Treasures: Starry Night
- Tuvalu, KM-416, 2 Dollar, Silver, Silk Road Abacus
MOST INSPIRATIONAL COIN
Coins must feature designs devoted to ideas, events, institutions or individuals that best exemplify man’s eternal aspirations for peace, freedom and human rights. Judges shall take into consideration theme, design and artistic merit.
There was an abundance of Inspirational themes on coins dated 2019, so the committee members looked for deeper international meaning to single out the finest examples for nomination.
- Austria, KM-3302, 20 Euro, Silver, Reaching for the Sky: Moon Landing
- Benin, KM-105, 1,000 Franc, Silver, 50th Anniversary of Woodstock
- Canada, KM-2807, 10 Dollar, Silver, 50 Years of Progress in Advancing LGBTQ2 Rights
- France, KM-2564, 10 Euro, Silver, Notre Dame Cathedral
- Great Britain, KM-1676a, 50 Pence, Silver, Innovation in Science: Stephen Hawking
- Latvia, KM-207, 5 Euro, Silver, Latvian War of Independence
- Lithuania, KM-254, 50 Euro, Gold, Struggle for Freedom
- Portugal, KM-900a, 5 Euro, Silver, 45th Anniversary of the Carnation Revolution
- South Africa, KM-691, 50 Rand, Bronze Alloy, 25 Years of Constitutional Democracy
- Ukraine, KM-979, 5 Hryven, Nickel-Silver, 75th Anniversary of Ukraine’s Liberation
A ballot of these 100 nominees will be sent to an international panel of judges, who will vote for their picks, and one coin will come out as the winner in each category. From there, the Judging Panel will consider these 10 finalists for the ultimate Coin of the Year award. Category awards and the top honor will be given to winners in early 2021.
For more information about the Coin of the Year awards, including past winners, click here.
To view a PDF of this entire article as it appeared in World Coin News, click here.